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Sacred Trust

Sacred Trust
A Children’s Education Bill of Rights

Foreword by Rudy Crew

July 2011 | 160 pages | Corwin
Peter Cookson's Sacred Trust: An Education Bill of Rights is a book for district and school leaders, teachers, policy makers, and anyone interested in ensuring a world class education, school equity, and student well-being for K-12 students in this new century. In this thought-provoking and inspiring "call to action", Cookson not only argues that equality of educational opportunity is today's great civil rights issue, he demonstrates—though the use of vivid storytelling and relevant research—how a collective, national vision is needed in order to achieve world class schooling for our children in this century. This necessary vision is what Cookson calls an education bill of rights—a set of transcendent, guiding principles designed to unite the nation in its educational reform efforts while still allowing states to retain local control over their school systems. From the right to a school that is funded for 21st century excellence; to the right to develop individual learning styles; and the right to have one's heritage and differences honored, celebrated, and incorporated into study, Cookson's education bill of rights serves as an ideal launching pad for school leaders and policy makers to create a concrete action plan that will lead to just, equitable, and excellent schools and school systems in the United States.
About the Author
Introduction: A Measure of Our Soul
Chapter One: The Power of People and the Purpose of Public Education
All Children Dream

Educationally Experimenting on the Poor

Madison was Right: A New Policy Framework

Turning Dreams into Reality

The Obtainable Utopia

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Chapter Two: The Right to a Safe, Healthy, World-Class Pubic School
Right Number 1: The right to a neighborhood public school or a public school of choice that is funded for excellence

The Great Unequalizer

Getting to the Real Issues

Money---Spent Wisely---Does Matter

Reclaiming Horace's Dream

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Right Number 2: The right to physical and emotional health and safety

Do No Harm: The First Obligation

Basic Justice Requires Basic Care

Health and Social Health

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Readings

Chapter Three: The Cultural and Individual Rights of Students
Right Number 3: The right to have his or her heritage, background, and religious differences honored, incorporated in study, and celebrated in the culture of the school

Unity Within Diversity

The Open Mind and the Open Society

The Empathic Civilization

The Classroom Is the World

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Right Number 4: The right to develop learning styles and strategies to the greatest extent possible

Doubt and Its Virtues

The Mismatch Between Research and Practice

Maximizing Children's Talent Through Individualization

Inquiry as a Way of Life

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Chapter Four: The Right to High Quality Instruction and School Leadership
Right Number 5: The right to an excellent and dedicated teacher

Why Don't We Ask the Teachers?

Elevating Teaching

Practical Idealism Works

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Right Number 6: The right to a school leader with vision and educational expertise

Leadership for 21st-Century Schools

National Educational Leadership

A School Without Vision Is Lost

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Chapter Five: The Right to World-Class 21st-Century Curriculum and Technology
Right Number 7: The right to a curriculum based on relevance, depth, and flexibility

Boredom--The Lucky Two Percent

Virtual Socrates

Eradicating Boredom

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Right Number 8: The right of access to the most powerful educational technologies

Learning in the Electronic Era

Why a Right to 21st-Century Communication Technologies?

Technology, Technopoly, and Cyber Sanity

What Would Socrates Say?

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Chapter Six: The Right to Equality of Educational Opportunity
Right Number 9: The right to fair, relevant, and learner-based evaluations

In the Belly of the Beast

Why a Right to Fair Evaluation?

The Einstein Factor, the Picasso Possibility, and the Sanctity of Natural Genius

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Right Number 10: The right to complete high school

The Tragic Consequences of Educational Neglect

Why a Right to Graduate?

What Would the Founders Say?

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Chapter Seven: The Right to Good Government
21st-Century Government and a "Sense of the People"

A New Department of Education---A National "Seminary of Learning"

Organizing for Learning

The Dream Recaptured

Book Study Questions

Possible Action Steps

Suggested Further Reading

Resource 1: The Historic Issue of Equity and Excellence
Resource 2: The Virginia Declaration of Rights
Resource 3: Education and the Peace Dividend
Resource 4: Principles of Multicultural Education

"Some of the ideas in this motivating book really push the envelope. I love the idea of establishing an educational trust fund for every American child! Wow, can you imagine how amazing this would be if it really came to fruition?"

Brigitte Tennis, Teacher
Stella Schola Middle School, Redmond, WA

"This book will be very helpful for future K12 administrators as they attempt to understand the underlying dynamics of future trends and educational demands. It provides educators with a solid philosophy and personal plan of action for addressing these issues in their own community."

Bernardo J. Carducci, Director, Shyness Research Institute
Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

"This book approaches the problems of education in a positive way by relating how to solve those problems through the consideration of the rights of children. The author’s list of rights is refreshing and different from other lists that have been published. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all educators and anyone who has a stake in education."

Karen L. Canfield, Principal
Pioneer Intermediate School, Noble, OK

"Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights is a clarion call to action for all Americans who care deeply about children and public education. Peter Cookson cuts through the endless policy debates and presents a positive plan for building 21st century public schools for all children."

Richard W. Riley, Former U. S. Secretary of Education
Senior Partner, EducationCounsel, LLC, Washington, DC

"In Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights, Peter Cookson provides a road map for developing every child’s greatest abilities and private hopes and dreams. With his proposed ten rights, plus the added right to good government, he provides a compact that if fulfilled will save our species from self-inflicted extinction. All educators, policy makers, and parents should treasure this book for its robust guidance on how we can benefit everyone by achieving this essential Bill of Rights."

Gardner P. Dunnan, Academic Dean
Avenues: The World School, New York, NY

"Peter Cookson's vision for a truly inclusive and quality public school system could not come at a better time. As many of our children are struggling, we need a national vision and a genuine sense of hope. Sacred Trust is a caring, yet uncompromising wake-up call to honor and support public education."

Ramon C. Cortines, Former Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

"Peter Cookson elegantly parses language in a manner which speaks convincingly to the heart of an idealist and the mind of a pragmatist. His passionate and urgent plea for a 'Children's Education Bill of Rights' provides a reform blueprint with, through and for schoolchildren and youth in our country. This book is must reading for all interested in empowering more citizens to gain the promise of America."

Eric J. Cooper, President and Founder
National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, Syosset, NY

"This book is both succinct and comprehensive, well-documented and objective, but full of a pregnant sense of outrage, powerful and commanding. The message is that it is time to stop talking and start solving our education problem."

James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry
Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT

"Brimming with ideas, inspiration, and important questions, Sacred Trust could be the cornerstone for ongoing debate and action aimed at creating the schools we need for children in this century. Peter Cookson is an eloquent writer whose educational insight and wisdom warrants close attention."

Caroline Hodges Persell, Professor of Sociology
New York University

Sacred Trust bristles with passion and imagination. Peter Cookson makes a forceful argument that the human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness articulated in the Declaration of Independence demand an education which cultivates the whole person."

Aaron M. Pallas, Professor of Sociology and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

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